A Denver man who was accidentally released from prison six years ago with 90 years left on his sentence has been thrown back in jail, but he’s appealing his renewed incarceration.
Rene Lima-Marin was 19 when he was sentenced to 98 years in prison in 1998 after he and a friend were convicted of holding up two video stores at gunpoint.
But due to a clerical mistake, he was released on parole in 2008.
Since then, he has gotten a job, married and started a family. His wife, Jasmine Lima-Marin, told Denver’s CBS 4 that he’s turned his life around and doesn’t deserve to be sent back to prison.
“He’s not the same person that he was then,” she said. “He’s very supportive. He’s just a great guy.”
The mistake occurred when Lima-Marin was first processed into prison. A clerk mistakenly wrote that his sentences were to be served concurrently, which would have made him eligible for parole after serving 10 years. (RELATED: Inmate Mistakenly Released 90 Years Early Fights His Return To Prison)
Prosecutors say that Lima-Marin was aware of the clerical error and knew he wasn’t eligible for parole, but didn’t say anything.
“He took advantage of this mistake,” Rich Orman, the senior deputy district attorney for Colorado’s 1st Judicial District, told CBS 4. “In my opinion, the court has no choice but to make him serve the remainder of his sentence.”
Lima-Marin points to the life he led outside prison walls — openly, and in the same district in which he was prosecuted — as evidence that he didn’t know a mistake had been made.
“I would have never had a wife. I would have never had children,” he told Denver’s Fox 31. “I would have never bought a house. I would have never done any of those things. But I did those because you let me out.”
The station notes that Lima-Marin was first tried under the now-defunct chronic offender program — based on theft charges when he was a juvenile — which enabled prosecutors to impose longer sentences for the crimes. He was convicted of multiple counts of armed robbery, kidnapping (for moving employees from the front to the back of the store) and burglary.
“I acknowledge the fact I did something wrong,” he told Fox 31. “I take responsibility for the fact I did something wrong. But I also believe I completed the punishment, the just punishment for the crime.”
In addition to the appeal, his supporters have also started an online petition asking Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to release him.
If the efforts fail, Lima-Marin will be eligible for parole in 2054, when he’s 75 years old.
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